An African American fashion designer is being denounced as racially insensitive and “fetishizing” Asian women for borrowing from Chinese culture to create a sexy piece of lingerie/bikini, but she’s refusing to back down from her critics.
Fashion student Vanessa Danelle is being accused by social justice warriors of allegedly “fetishizing” Asian women for creating a reversible “Chinoiserie” bikini that could also be used for lingerie, the New York Post reports. The condemnation erupted on Saturday after NYC-based brand Palais Du Dèsir uploaded a video promoting a reversible swimsuit that would be available on the Chinese New Year.
“Introducing the Chinoiserie mini collection,” said the Instagram post. “Shown here is a reversible bikini that can be worn as swimwear or lingerie. One of several pieces in that will be available for purchase on Chinese New Year.”
“Chinoiserie” is particularly searing to the “cultural appropriation” enforcers being that it applies Chinese motifs and techniques to Western designs, a fashion fusion so to speak.
Similar to the outrage hurled at the high school girl who wore the Asian-inspired prom dress, the “wokescolds” on social media quickly denounced Vanessa Danelle for cultural appropriation, according to Nextshark.
“It was brought to my attention one of your most recent products sparked a bit of controversy. This product, although very beautiful, contributes and promotes the over-sexualization and fetishization of Asian women,” said one user. “As a POC and a company empowering POC, I’m sure you are familiar with how harmful things like racial sexualization and cultural appropriation, can be. I ask that your company remove this product from the market, in respect to Asian culture and women alike.”
Vanessa Danelle is refusing to apologize to her critics, highlighting the fact that no Asian women have been sexualized since she used no Asian models to advertise it.
“There is no Asian woman wearing my clothing so how does it over sexualize Asian women? It’s just fabric and if black people can’t use Asian fabrics lmk where that law is written,” said Danelle. “By you asking me to remove MY work from MY page shows how disrespectful YOU are. You have some nerve. No it won’t be taken down. I’m not here to please you or any of the internet trolls who dislike my work. Check yourself before you check me. Chinoiserie by definition is imitation of Chinese motifs in western art.”
The swimsuit post still remains on Instagram while all comments have been disabled.
The controversy over the “Chinoiserie” bikini recalls what happened to a Utah high school senior, Keziah Daum, in 2018 when she wore a Chinese-inspired dress to the prom.
“My culture is NOT your g*****n prom dress,” said one angered activist on Twitter in response to her photo.
40,000 retweets later, Daum was hit with a torrent of harassment from unhinged critics, all accusing her of cultural appropriation. One person even said she “should be executed.”
“I was accused of racism and cultural appropriation,” Daum said at the time. “I had so many people telling me I need to delete my post, it’s going to get worse and worse. I’m not going to lie, I did cry one of the nights, I was pretty stressed; I was really hurt but my mom helped me through that and told me to toughen up or she’d take away my social media.”
Fortunately, Daum persisted and refused to apologize for the dress or take the post celebrating its beauty down from social media. She told The Washington Post, “I thought it was absolutely beautiful,” adding that it “really gave me a sense of appreciation and admiration for other cultures and their beauty.”